Gorshinmania!

On this, the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearing on the Ed Sullivan show, I thought I'd share a comedy sketch that I wrote for The Madhouse Theater Company, and which they performed last month at Montgomery County Community College. (Frank Gorshin, in case you're wondering, was an impressionist who appeared on the Ed Sullivan…Read more Gorshinmania!

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Evolution

Here's something I mentioned in one of my classes today... Just a theory I'm working on. I'd argue that throughout any given literary movement (or, more generally, artistic movement), there's an ongoing debate of many, many voices, each representing a slightly different approach to defining and realizing the ideals of that movement. The debate isn't…Read more Evolution

Of Blackguards and Blatherskites: An Interview with Simon Read

Simon Read has a gift for bringing the past to life. His most recent book, War of Words, harkens back to the thrilling—and violent—days of yesteryear.

Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Four: Coca Cola

(Continued from yesterday.) No discussion of Santa Claus would be complete without some mention of Coca Cola. I've heard more than once that Coca Cola invented the contemporary image of Santa Claus as part of a holiday-themed ad campaign. Snopes.com, however, notes that while Coca Cola did start using Santa Claus in their ads in…Read more Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Four: Coca Cola

Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Three: Chris Kringle

(Continued from yesterday.) So there's Saint Nicholas, who was known for his generosity, Krampus, who was known for sliding down chimneys, and Odin who had one eye and a horse with eight legs. But none of this explains why Santa Claus sometimes goes by the name Chris Kringle. This one, I think, we can trace…Read more Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Three: Chris Kringle

Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Two: Odin

(Continued from yesterday.) The reason Santa Claus is frequently depicted as winking is that he's also based to some extent on Odin, the king of the Norse gods. Odin, as you may know, traded one of his eyes for wisdom. As a result, he frequently appears to be winking, much like Santa Claus. He also…Read more Speculation on the Origins of Santa Claus, Part Two: Odin